Lovecraftian Tour

We arrived in Providence with a day to spare before Necronomicon started, so took the opportunity to wander around and visit a few key sites from Lovecraft’s life and one from his death.

Paul took a few videos of me explaining what these sites were, which you can find below. The highlight, for me at least, was what happened when we found his birthplace. It was almost too perfectly ironic.

Posted in Gaming Conventions, H.P. Lovecraft | 1 Comment

Episode 111 – The Good Friends play R’lyeh Roulette: Monster Madness


R’lyeh Roulette III: Monster Madness

Main Topic

We’re back and we’re giving the wheel of misfortune another spin. In our earlier R’lyeh Roulette episodes — 37 and 60 — we rolled for random spells from the spreadsheet that would one day become The Grand Grimoire of Mythos Magic. This time we’re using the Malleus Monstorum as our roulette wheel, rolling for random Lovecraftian monsters. Our format is unchanged, however. We improvise a variety of scenario seeds based on the results, trying to find unusual ways to use these monsters. Some of the ideas we come up with may not exactly be canon, but they amuse us.

The suggestion for this topic came from Danial Carroll, over on our Google+ Community. Danial has a special affection for Lovecraftian monsters. You may recognise him as the creator of the Brawl of Cthulhu blog, where he discusses all the entries in the Malleus Monstorum. If you like monsters (and who doesn’t?) then you should find plenty of wriggly inspiration there.


In our news segment, we share some further details of our programme at Necronomicon this week. In addition to the events we mentioned last episode, we will be signing books at the Chaosium stand between 3-4 PM on Saturday the 19th. We will also be in New York City on the 21st of August, signing books at The Compleat Strategist between 4;30 and 6 PM. If you are in the area and would like to meet up, please come along. Alternatively, if you’d like to meet us for a drink or a meal, drop us a line to make alternative arrangements.

We mention that Matt has arranged to run his Intersections mini-campaign from the World War Cthulhu: Cold War core book for the Into the Darkness crew. Scott is also in the process of running his Blackwater Creek scenario from the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition Keeper Screen pack for the players at the How We Roll podcast. We will let you know when the recordings are available and link to them from our Actual Play page.

Speaking of actual play, Marty Jopson has been running The Two-Headed Serpent and posting it online. The AP recording themselves are only accessible to patrons of, Marty has, however, filmed a series of videos about his experience of running the game, called The Keeper Diaries, and made them publicly accessible. The most recent diary includes an interview with Mike Mason about Pulp Cthulhu. Marty has also interviewed Paul about the opening chapter and will talk to Matt and Scott as their chapters come up. Be warned — these videos are spoiler-heavy and designed for people running the campaign.

The final bit of news is Chaosium have released the PDF version of Kevin Ross’s Down Darker Trails. This is a setting supplement for Call of Cthulhu detailing eldritch horrors in the Old West. Paul worked on the book, updating the text to 7th edition and fleshing out the content. The print edition should be out later in the year.

Other Stuff

And monsters aren’t the only terrors you’ll find in this episode. We also sing. If you’re wondering why we sing, we ask ourselves the same question all the time. The horrible and unbelievable truth is that people have asked us to do so. When a brave and generous person pledges to back the podcast at the $5 level on Patreon, we commemorate them through song. Given our complete lack of any musical talent, the ongoing success of this confuses us as much as it does the rest of you. Once again, we have built up a small backlog of people to sing to, but have limited ourselves to two songs per episode. There will be more next time.

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Episode 110 – The Good Friends hold for The Call of Cthulhu


The Call of Cthulhu part 2

We’re back and we’re still being haunted by those hellish dreams surfacing from lost R’yeh like bubbles of pure madness. This is the second part of our discussion of Lovecraft’s classic weird tale, The Call of Cthulhu. Last episode we talked about the first two acts of the story. This time, we wrap up the synopsis, discuss adaptations and influences, and look for gaming inspiration. There are a surprising number of elements of the story that have seen little examination in RPGs, despite its fame.

Including what kind of saving throw you would need to avoid contracting piles from spending strange aeons squatting on a cold stone plinth.

No discussion of The Call of Cthulhu would be complete without a look at the 2005 film by the HP Lovecraft Historical Society. This is the definitive adaptation, faithful to Lovecraft in a way few other films even attempt. Happily, Sean Branney and Andrew Leman of the HPLHS were able to join us for an extended interview. They offer their thoughts on the story and insights into how the film was made. They also share a few tantalising details of current and future projects. One of the most ambitious of these — an audiobook of Lovecraft’s complete fiction — is available for pre-order now.

Time and holidays have worked against us this episode. We were unable to meet to record our usual last-minute inserts. This means that the news segment is shorter than usual. We still managed to slip in a mention of the new Kickstarter campaign for Sandy Petersen’s Cthulhu Wars Onslaught 3. We were unsure of the launch date when we recorded, but the campaign has now started.

Enough new playing pieces to rupture the fabric of space/time itself.

The other result of our inability to meet was a further delay in thanking new backers. A number of generous people have pledged money via Patreon recently and we promise to thank them all next episode. Two of them (so far) have backed us at the $5 level, which means we shall sing to them. Expect a pair of sanity-blasting exultations of horror next time!


Posted in Call of Cthulhu, H.P. Lovecraft, Horror Films, Horror Stories, Roleplaying Games, The Good Friends of Jackson Elias | 4 Comments

Episode 109 – The Good Friends answer The Call of Cthulhu


The Call of Cthulhu part 1

We’re back and we’re talking about one of Lovecraft’s best-known stories. The Call of Cthulhu probably boasts more name recognition than any other Lovecraft tale. This is largely due to the ubiquity of old squidhead himself. Between the term “Cthulhu Mythos” and Chaosium using the story’s name for their groundbreaking RPG, Cthulhu has found a prominent place in pop culture. Despite that, comparatively few people who have heard the name know much about the story he comes from.

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is enough gin to briefly wipe away memories of this abomination.

This is the first of two episodes about The Call of Cthulhu. This time we’re focusing on the story itself, or at least the first two-thirds of it. The next episode will cover the climax of the story, an overview of its various adaptations into other media and some ideas about how to use elements in your Call of Cthulhu games. That said, if you can’t work out how to incorporate The Call of Cthulhu into Call of Cthulhu, maybe it’s time to give up.

I mean, his name’s right there in the title and everything!

If you aren’t happy with merely hearing our insights, we have some added treats for you. Mike Mason, line editor of Call of Cthulhu, generously recorded some readings for us. Listen out for his eldritch tones throughout the episode. And none other than Sandy Petersen, creator of Call of Cthulhu (not The Call of Cthulhu — this could turn into an Abbott & Costello routine if we’re not careful) joins us for a short segment to discuss the influence of this particular story on his work. And speaking of his work, Sandy mentions a few future projects to look forward to. Chaosium is developing Tales of Sandy Petersen, a collection of Sandy’s Call of Cthulhu scenarios. There is also Sandy’s Cthulhu Mythos for Pathfinder book to look forward to. If you can’t wait for these goodies, however, fret not! The Kickstarter campaign for Cthulhu Wars Onslaught 3 has just launched.

In the news segment, we mention that a number of projects we worked on are up for ENnie Awards. If you would like to vote for any of them, they are: Pulp Cthulhu (Best Supplement), the Keeper Screen Pack (Best Aid/Accessory, Best Cartography), The Things We Leave Behind (Best Adventure, Best Electronic Book), the Call of Cthulhu Investigator Handbook (Best Cover) and the Call of Cthulhu — 7th Edition Slipcase Set (Best Production Values). Be quick! Voting ends on the 21st of July.

We also mention that we will be at Necronomicon in Providence, from the 17th to the 20th of August. While there, we will record a special episode with our good friends from the Miskatonic University podcast. We’re scheduled to appear on a few panels, run some games and spend a disgraceful amount of time in the bar. If you are at Necronomicon, please find us and say hi!

The second most merciful thing in the world, I think, is that there is no singing in this episode. While another brave soul has offered his name up to the dark gods of cacophony by pledging at the $5 level on Patreon, we still need to check some details before we can perform the appropriate rites. You shall have to wait until next episode for us to call down doom upon all who listen.

Posted in Call of Cthulhu, H.P. Lovecraft, Horror Films, Roleplaying Games, The Good Friends of Jackson Elias | 1 Comment

Episode 108 – The Good Friends look for the magic in Mage: the Awakening


Mage: the Awakening

We’re back and we’re following up episode 105‘s discussion of the World of Darkness with a more detailed look at one of the core games that make up the current incarnation of the line. Mage: the Awakening is the reinvention of the RPG that started life as Mage: the Ascension. Onyx Path released a second, heavily revised edition last year, and this version is the focus of our episode.

Mage: the Awakening

Once again, Matt is our native guide through the World of Darkness. While both Paul and Scott have played at least a few sessions of Mage, only Matt has any detailed knowledge of the new edition. His degree of familiarity with its dark arts would have had him burnt at the stake in less enlightened times. Today, happily, the only Inquisition he faces is lots of ill-informed questions from Scott and Paul.

Our use of torture instruments is purely recreational.

Mage: the Awakening is an odd game. Whilst it has dark elements, its fantastical approach seems an anomaly in a line of games whose focus is horror. In its latest incarnation, it trades much of the mechanical simplicity that drew players to White Wolf for a far more complex magic system. And it offers fewer answers to the question of what exactly the player characters do than many RPGs. We delve into these and other aspects, trying to work out where exactly Mage fits into the World of Darkness.

Centre stage and in the spotlight, apparently.

In the news segment, we mention that The Dark Times fanzine is looking for scenarios and articles for a variety of horror games. Please get in touch with them if you want to see your name in (digital) print. Also, Chaosium have released the print editions of The Two-Headed Serpent and The Grand Grimoire of Mythos Magic. We all worked on the former, and the latter represents a Herculean feat of organisation by Matt. The Excel spreadsheets for it are more complex than the budgets of many large corporations, although maybe not as sanity-blasting.

The Two-Headed Serpent

Slithering its way into all good game shops now.

Many of you may be relieved to learn that there is no singing in this episode. We do have a few new Patreon backers to thank, but none of them have called down the horror of song upon themselves. Our voices remain hidden in the dark corners of the world, waiting to be summoned once more.

Posted in Roleplaying Games, The Good Friends of Jackson Elias | Leave a comment